Archive for June 8th, 2006

Made Right

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

Please read Galatians 2:15-21, (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Christen Peters):

My initial reaction to these verses is a resounding “Hallelujah!”  Here is where I find the answer to the most basic question of salvation: What must I do to be saved?

A brief refresher: Peter and Paul have both been ministering in Antioch. They have been fellowshipping with the Gentile “sinners” and encouraging others to do the same. Because of a visit of other disciples from Jerusalem, though, Peter reverts to following the Levitical dietary laws and separates himself from the ‘Gentile sinners’. To avoid being thrown by the phrase “Gentile sinners”, please understand that it derives from the Jewish religious view that the Jewish people are not just a chosen people of God, but THE chosen people of God. It did not mean that Jewish people never sinned, but that anyone not Jewish was forever a sinner because they did not abide by Jewish law, so could not possibly earn God’s forgiveness.

In this passage, Paul is not so gently reminding Peter that nobody can ‘earn’ the grace of God — that the very purpose of Jesus’ death was the insurance that salvation was for ALL, and that the price of sin has been paid in full. The word here translated as ‘justified’ also means “made righteous” or “put into a right standing with God”.

What Paul is saying here is very simply that no works of human hands can ever be enough to capture Heaven — that faith alone is the price of salvation. Indeed, Paul asserts that to try to earn salvation through works is to diminish the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice for humankind. To understand Paul’s assertion, look also at the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-23). Here is a person who kept the law, yet it was not enough to ensure his salvation. While many may think that this is just a story about money getting in the way of salvation, I contend that it was really a matter of faith. Had the young man had a real faith in Jesus Christ, he’d have trusted in the love of Christ — trusted that Christ would never lead him to danger or want.

Paul says “…I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” To put it another way, Christ died for my old way of life. When I put my faith in Jesus Christ, my old way of life has been crucified. When I understand and accept that Christ has already purchased my forgiveness, it is incumbent upon me to live this new life, ransomed with Christ’s blood, in as Christ-like a manner as I can.

Thought for the day: God, I am already paid for. Help me to show my appreciation every day!

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: The Eastside Oasis and its leader, Lu McCammon.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
Be still and know… is proudly powered by WordPress.